How Indian Railways is gearing up to tackle delay caused by foggy season

During winter season especially in North India fog is a common weather phenomenon that also impacts visibility. The limited visibility has been a major concern for Indian Railways. The movement of freight and passenger trains is severely affected due to poor visibility and the safety protocols that are put in place that includes speed restrictions in the fog-affected areas. As a result, the trains reach their destinations late and have to be often rescheduled for the return journey or cancelled due to abnormal late running.

Indian Railways have to deal with several problems faced due to intense fog which includes rake imbalances due to abnormal late running of trains, crew shortage resulting out of longer duration of working hours due to slower mobility and path constraints, complete disorientation of time table, maintenance slots at washing line complexes etc. due to late arrival of trains.Catering difficulties due to out-of-schedule running of trains. Heavy crowding of waiting passengers on platforms at major terminals. Non-availability of maintenance blocks due to reduced capacity. The increased cost of operations due to overtime of crew and decreased asset utilization due to reduced speed and capacity constraints.

This year Indian Railways have taken steps which include established past practices as well as new initiatives to minimise adverse affect of fog on train operations. Indian Railways’ North Central Railway(NCR) will install fog-safe device on all locomotive to warn crew on approaching signal location based on GPS even if visibility is very poor so as chances of overlooking signal is minimised.Presently 850 devices in Prayagraj Division, 558 devices in Jhansi Division and 376 devices in Agra division have been provided.

GPS based tracking systems provided to all line patrolling staff so as effectiveness and beat of patrolling can be double checked.GPS trackers shall be put in use covering all three divisions.

Converting automatic signaling territory in modified automatic territory during fog to limit number of trains between two stations.

All caution boards, whistling boards etc are provided with retro reflective coating for improved visibility. Lime marking on track for approaching signal is also done at regular interval for ease of guidance to crew in case of impaired visibility during fog.

Loco/Crew/Rake links are rationalized and reviewed during period of fog. This is to ensure adequate rest to the Crew. Also cleaning and maintenance work can be performed o­n the rolling stock so that the rakes are available o­n time for the next trip to minimize delays and maintain punctuality.

Use of Visibility Test Object (VTO) by the station masters to assess the severity of the fog in and around the station area.

The loco pilots are given special training to tackle low visibility issues. They are sensitized to apply their wisdom and sense of judgment for controlling the speed of the train keeping in view the prevailing conditions o­n the track at that time through intensive training sessions.

Besides crew of NCR other crew from adjoining Railways like NER , NR , NWR , WCR, ECR etc are given fog related training and assurance is taken o­n proper training including evaluation before allowing them o­n NCR territory during winters.

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